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Living in German definitely has its perks, one of which is the forced leisure on Sundays. Stores (and many restaurants) are closed, so people spend the day relaxing. I have found Sundays to be the perfect day for baking.  I had originally planned to make cinnamon rolls, but I forgot cinnamon and like I said no place was open. So I looked in my kitchen for something to make. I knew I wanted to bake something for breakfast on Monday. Monday is a big day for us here. It’s the start of classes and all of the teachers are a little stressed. So I had 2 lemons, 1 ginger root, basic baking ingredients and a baking sheet. I decided to make the most out of that. I made three delicious things.

First, I made candied ginger. It’s perfect for nervous stomaches. The candied ginger recipe was adapted from Alton Brown. I followed his basic directions, but I used one ginger root and 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar.   Basically, after boiling the ginger, strain it and boil it in simple syrup until the sugar re-crystalizes.

Next, I used the liquid that the ginger had been boiling in (and was strained off) to make ginger ale. I added some simple syrup, a little lemon juice, and sparkling water. I haven’t really been looking, but I haven’t seen ginger ale here. This was so good that even if I do find it, I wouldn’t buy it. It would make this!

The third ginger project of the day was ginger scones. I used this lemon ginger scone recipe and added a glaze on top. It used most of my candied ginger, but I had a few big chunks set aside to enjoy later. I am usually not a scone person… but wow! The texture was perfect. So moist. And the flavor was incredible.

I am so happy with each of these. When I moved into my little apartment, where the kitchen is literally in a closet and the only oven is a toaster oven, I thought all attempts at baking would be worthless. But my sweet coworker told me not to underestimate my toaster oven. And he was right. That thing is pretty powerful. I haven’t exactly figured out cooking times and temperatures, but that’s just more reason to bake.

So, what’s happened in my life? My sister had her beautiful baby boy.

And I got offered a job in Germany. The kind of opportunity that you don’t even hesitate accepting because right away you know it’s going to be great. So, the last few months, I got rid of most of my belongs: sold my car, donated tons of clothes, and gifted some of my fabric stash. Pairing down my things has been both freeing and frustrating. And now, that I am living with just one suitcase worth of belongings (and a furnished apartment) I can hardly imagine why I needed so much.

I’ve still been crafting and cooking. It’s a nice way to fill the down time.

A gift for my new coworker’s daughter using the bunny nugget pattern. She sweetly invited me to Easter.

A little heart dishtowel for the house. From this tutorial.

Both of these projects were really fun. Since I left my sewing machine in storage, knitting is my new hobby. I am a very basic knitter, but these were easy enough. I have to admit the heart dishtowel took a little bit too much thought and time for me. (It was my first time with a purl stitch.)

But the bunny was a blast. I think, next up is Rebbeca Danger’s “monster chunks.” It would make a good ball to throw around my new classroom.

Paper Flowers

Picture from Paper Source

I have lusted after these flowers for years and finally shelled out the $17 for the Paper Source kit. When I opened it, I was a little disappointed. The whole process is pretty simple. I could have thought of it on my own. Plus you get a grab bag of colored paper, which may or may not be the colors you like. (I got lots of brown and chartreuse.) Still once I got started I fell back in love with these paper source flowers. And now that I have the pattern I can buy generic paper, floral tape and wire and make as many as I want.

They are really easy to make and so beautiful. We are going to use them at my sister’s baby shower. Some will serve as centerpieces — two flowers and one adorable stuffed animal. Others will line the ceiling with the streamers. I think they’ll look so cute. The question is: will I have enough patience to make 50? 25? 15? I have five so far.

Thank you Grace for brightening my morning and reminding me that even in fall, the sun shines. This morning Grace from Design Sponge posted a video about making sunprint fabric. I had no idea such a thing existed. Here is the video

You can buy the fabric online here. I am going to call our local fabric superstore (Fabric Depot) and see if they have it in stock because I don’t think I can wait for the sunprint fabric to arrive in the mail.

I can just see a beautiful tote. Or a wonderful silk pillow on my bed. Or a cute new print for my wall. So many beautiful possibilities. I don’t think I’ll be able to resist… even if the fabric is $18 a yard.

I have been sewing like crazy this week. It started on Sunday night. I made my favorite kind of reusable grocery bag. Next week, I’ll talk about that. This week, I installed my first zipper. Maybe it’s something small, but to me it was as daunting as installing a toilet.  Turned out perfectly. Despite the confusion the explanation from Sewing for Dummies caused. I loved three bear‘s tip about using an extra long zipper. I used her bag tutorial. The bag was a total flop, but the zipper… ahh it was perfect.

My problems with the bag: I doubled the size and because of its construction it looked wonky. At that size it also needed a handle and maybe interfacing. (completely my fault) I made it again in the suggested size and it’s tiny. I am not sure it would hold half my daily makeup. But it is pretty cute and I have gotten a bunch of compliments on it. It hold one ball of yarn nicely.

As for the other projects, they’re gifts. I’ll tell you about them after they have been gifted.

Baby Blocks

These plush blocks were the perfect way to use some of the million squares I cut for a defunct baby quilt project. I got totally frustrated with the quilt once I realized that my cute little animal print was directional and the bears weren’t going to be facing the same way. That was a deal breaker. But this morning, I whipped out three cute stuffied blocks. I didn’t use a tutorial or pattern, but in retrospect they look a little wonky. I should have thought it out a little more or followed someone’s directions, like hers. Either way, they are pretty cute and match the bibs I made the little baby boy. Should I make a little drawstring bag to store them in?

I had great expectations for this blog. I thought it would be the perfect place to organize the patterns I use and the sites I love. Instead, I felt weighed down by the prospect of photographing all my work and writing about it. So I am going to try to this again… but with lower expectations. Maybe I’ll just post once a week. And maybe without pictures. But I do love pictures!

Anyway, my sister is pregnant which has started a flurry of crafting. So I have much to blog about.

Projects completed:

Booties– this was a great tutorial and the adaptations are endless. Mine were dark grey and red with a few artistic zigzag stiches across the toe

Bib from nested. I actually made a set of these in under an hour. So satisfying. (with very little bias tape…which usually drives me insane) Might try ironing on some vinyl next time so the bibs are easier to clean.

Projects to do:

Bath hooded towel from purl bee

Shopping cart cover using a pattern

Projects I would like to do:

A mobile?? if I could find a good tutorial

Blocks from the scraps of what was a much too time consuming quilt project– using a pattern like this one or maybe this one (both via oneprettything)

Along with more booties, bibs, and maybe some things to match the baby shower. I have a million ideas for the co-ed baby shower.